Saturday, April 28, 2012

Art Attack 2012 or BUST!

Click on this link to go to a gallery of photos of Satch's journey up to Harbor Country for Art Attack 2012 - great stuff!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Here is our collaboration for the Mad Collab Show hosted by 3040 Indie.  For the exhibition the prints were mounted on an oxidized box.  Here they are depicted as if they were printed on one piece of paper.  Here's a small gallery of snapshots from the show.  Click on the graphic to enlarge.

Emergence 4, 2012

Satch and Ron Kern

Archival Inkjet Print of a Photographed Vanished Drawing

This work is a series of prints that depict a woman’s progression of emergence from her most basic essence to the entirety of her being.  The final graphic depicts the side view of a woman's torso and her breast.

The collaboration:

The idea for this work came from the desire to combine Satch’s art and Ron’s photography.  However, simply photographing something that was created and then assembled was not enough.

Satch decided upon conceiving and executing a painting on a medium where it would be temporary.  The painting would be allowed to fade into oblivion only with the assistance of natural forces.

Ron made photographs of this painting as it faded into nothingness.  Therefore, the only record of Satch’s work are the photographs, photographs of that which no longer exists.

The concept of emergence was arrived at when Satch and Ron realized that at the heart of what they were getting to was a metaphor for life’s existence.  Rather than showing life fading away, as the did the painting fade away, they chose to reverse the order and reveal the beauty of life’s emergence.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I gave it a shot.

Was it worth it?

Time will tell.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Marsh Davis, President of Indiana Landmarks Checks In, Again

Today, April 9, 2012 Marsh Davis, President of Indiana Landmarks made this statement about Carmel's historic grain elevator:

"Carmel, as a promoter of arts, is missing an opportunity to use the elevator as a very large art exhibit. It could be interpreted for what it is and how grain elevators affected the course of modern architecture. Not just architecture, but commerce, transportation, agriculture, building materials. It represents major progress and historic changes in all of these forces, and they are embedded in this structure.  Interpreting it as such would be innovative and authentic.  Assessing the feasibility of that is what Indiana Landmarks was interested in probing and why we offered to study it."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Marsh Davis, President of Indiana Landmarks Checks In

From Marsh Davis, President of Indiana Landmarks, March 29, 2012:

"Carmel should keep the elevator as a piece of sculpture and interpret it as such."

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Final Chapter - The Carmel Grain Elevator

The week of the March the 24th was quite a week.

At Monday's City Council Meeting I made a presentation to the City Council and the Mayor.  At the end of the presentation I was able to make public an offer that the President of Indiana Landmarks Marsh Davis had made to Mayor Brainard.  Indiana Landmarks would provide a grant to study the feasibility of preserving or reuse of Carmel's grain elevator.

On Wednesday NUVO published an article written by art critic and feature writer Dan Grossman.

On Wednesday a gracious Carmel Redevelopment Commission (CRC), at the request of Commissioner Dave Bowers, suspended their scheduled agenda so I could address the CRC.  Video of this presentation and discussion can can be seen at this link starting at 37:27.

On Thursday after I had, via email, submitted my presentation to Carmel City Councilors and CRC Commissioners I received an extensive response from the President of the CRC, Mr. Bill Hammer.  This email letter contains information regarding the feasibility of the reuse of the grain elevator.

Mr. Hammer's letter is quite thoughtful and well written.  Being a civil engineering graduate and having some experience in structural matters (while with the Indiana Department of Transportation I did design bridges and inspected and analyzed existing bridges for their structural and hydraulic capacity; the biggest bridge that I inspected was the old reinforced concrete U.S. 40 bridge over White River in downtown Indianapolis) I recognize the merit, plausibility and concern expressed in Mr. Hammer's commentary.

The studies that were done in the past that are referenced by Mayor Brainard in a recent news article, by Mr. Olds in the CRC meeting and Mr. Hammer in his fine letter along with other materials such as photographs, written histories, oral histories, etc. need to be gathered into an archive for the Carmel grain elevator.  This way future generations can see and learn about the history of Carmel's grain elevator and its architecture as well as understand the reasons it was razed.  I am willing to provide photographs that I have made for this archive and would also appreciate the opportunity to have on permanent display a selection of my photographs and writings on the grain elevator.  I will be contacting the CRC to see what the possibilities are.

Needless to say I wish the end result as to the fate of Carmel's grain elevator would have been different.  Certainly I would have liked to see the Mayor take Marsh Davis' (President of Indiana Landmarks) offer of a grant to examine all possibilities of preservation.  It would have been wonderful for the grain elevator to remain as monumental piece of sculpture so that others would have had the opportunity to be inspired and interpret it in the same way many of the world's greatest architects and artists have interpreted America's grain elevators.  But it is not to be.

I need to thank a great many people that have been on this ride that have supported me, provided information and done a lot of work throughout this effort.

And thanks to those that were willing to step up to the plate and, even at the last minute, have a dialog about Carmel's grain elevator.

So here goes:  Thanks to my wife Julie, Mike and Karen Stroup, Kiel Kinnaman,  Marsh Davis, Vess von Ruhtenberg, Natalie Ingle, SoHo Cafe, the Carmel City Council and the Carmel Redevelopment Commission, especially Commissioner Bowers and President Hammer.  And a special thanks to everybody that supported this effort via Facebook, Twitter, telephone calls, emails and conversations.

I very truly hope that this issue has brought to light the importance of Carmel's government enlisting the thoughts and ideas of its interested and talented citizens into its plans to make Carmel a better city and to make Carmel a city in which its citizens have ownership and pride.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Carmel Grain Elevator - An Essay

The Carmel Grain Elevator
(Progress, Ingenuity, Innovation, Economic Development, Architecture and the Arts)

Ron Kern
March 12, 2012

Carmel’s grain elevator - so what’s the big deal?  It is just an eyesore that needs to go away so we can have progress, right?  Progress, ingenuity, innovation, economic development, architecture, the arts, these are thing that, in Carmel, we pride ourselves in.  In fact, we’ve centered our future and invested upon these ideals.

The big deal is that Carmel’s historic grain elevator embodies all of these very same ideals that we are using to move Carmel into and through this century.

The grain elevator is Carmel’s greatest remaining historic asset.  It reminds us of a time when Carmel was a small farming community, its own community, not a suburb of a metropolitan area.  The grain elevator was a economic development tool, an innovation that made it much more efficient to process farmer’s harvests to the market and thereby giving Carmel life.  While it may seem insignificant to us today, this towering slab of concrete via the railroad system, helped feed our communities and provided jobs.  Without the grain elevator, Carmel would have been a very different place.  Would it even have continued to exist?  With it, Carmel had progress.

Our expanding roadway system eventually led to the railways becoming less efficient and definitely less convenient for transporting grain.  This drove many of the grain elevators out of business as the new system yielded a more consolidated approach to gathering the harvest.  Corporate farming was the last nail in the coffin for many grain elevator operations.  Scores of small towns were hurt greatly when the grain elevators eventually shut down.  I examined this phenomenon in a small town Indiana photographic project in the mid-1990s.

The grain elevator itself is a pinnacle of American ingenuity and achievement.  It was designed and constructed with regard to need and function.  No formal school of architecture taught the Midwest American engineer how to design such a structure.  Grain elevators became a beacon of a coming age.  They inspired Modernist architects and artists into a design awakening of unadorned classicism.  To name a few, America’s grain elevators inspired architects such as Sullivan, Richardson and Wright here in the United States and Behrens, Gropius and Mies van der Rohe of Germany, Elial Saarinen of Finland and Le Corbusier of France. 

In fact Le Corbusier, one of the world’s great architects and writers, in his seminal book “Towards a New Architecture,” grain elevators are featured prominently in the section of the book, Three Reminders to Architects, Part 1 Mass.  Please bear with me while I quote the last portion of the this section where Le Corbusier summarizes the significance of the design of the grain elevator’s inspiration to architecture:

“Not in pursuit of an architectural idea, but simply guided by the results of calculation and the conception of a LIVING ORGANISM, the ENGINEERS of to-day make use of the primary elements and, by co-ordinating them in accordance with the rules, provoke in us architectural emotions and thus make the work of man ring in unison with universal order.
     Thus we have the American grain elevators and factories, the magnificent FIRST-FRUITS of the new age. THE AMERICAN ENGINEERS OVERWHELM WITH THEIR CALCULATION OUR EXPIRING ARCHITECTURE.

It is obvious from Le Corbusier’s writing that the grain elevator was a major inspiration for modern architecture’s awakening.

A great many modern artists have been inspired by grain elevators.  One example is Charles Demuth’s masterpiece, “My Egypt.”  Demuth considered grain elevators a modern equivalent to the Pyramids.

Many photographers have been inspired by grain elevators.  Renowned photographer Frank Gohlke has made photographing Midwest and Great Plains grain elevators a significant part of his career.  This work resulted in exhibitions at major museums; for example the 1978 exhibition “Grain Elevators” was hosted at The Museum of Modern Art and traveled across the United States through 1980.  In 1992 The Johns Hopkins University Press published the acclaimed book of Gohlke’s grain elevator photographs, “Measures of Emptiness:  Grain Elevators in the American Landscape (Creating the North American Landscape.”

Carmel’s grain elevator is truly an excellent example of that which inspired the modernists.  Its somewhat large scale is well proportioned and its form varies from side to side.  Having such a wonderful example in such a small town speaks to the fact that Carmel was indeed an important location within the agricultural community.

The grain elevator has been an inspiration for my photography.  I have photographed it for many years.  This past January and February a recent photograph of the grain elevator was an anchor image for an exhibition of my year long photography project entitled, “Truth From Perceptions.”

Carmel desires to be and is working toward being an art-centric community.  It is forging its own identity and is becoming it’s own city rather than being a suburban bedroom community.  So, in some ways Carmel has come around full circle since its early days when Carmel was its own community among the farm fields, along the railroad line where the grain elevator was a central part of its economy and gave the town life.

As I mentioned previously, Carmel’s historic grain elevator embodies the exact same ideals that Carmel has invested in to make our community great now and in the future.  It indeed is an excellent example of modern American architecture.

Demolishing our grain elevator will be a major blow to Carmel’s image of being a community that is serious about and invested in the arts.  Demolishing such an important, significant structure steeped in history with regard to our community and the arts, I fear, will validate the view that Carmel is not to be taken seriously within the arts community.

I see the reuse of our grain elevator as an opportunity for our community.  One idea is to incorporate an observation deck into the reuse.  Imagine being able to see the contemporary success and progress of our city in the area of Carmel’s original town from a structure that harkens back to, and reminds us of, our history.

Our grain elevator is a huge opportunity to get public buy-in for historic preservation.  Recently the Carmel City Council passed, and the Mayor signed into law, an historic preservation ordinance.  There is not a more obvious place to start this process than at our historic grain elevator.  Community pride in Carmel’s history would result in an engaged community that appreciates and learns about its roots from which a part of our identity is generated for both newcomers and old-timers alike.

Utilizing our grain elevator as a community gathering site would appeal to a diverse demographic which is imperative for the health of our community.  Day to day it would be a non-consumer oriented inclusive gathering place.  It is in an excellent location with the Arts and Design District and is easily seen from quite a distance.  Many different functions could be held at the grain elevator site, music performances, arts festivals, community meetings, etc. For example - where is the high school jazz group playing this Thursday evening?  At the grain elevator - no further directions would be required.  It is a perfect place for the Carmel Clay Historical Society to hold events such as arts programs for kids and adults alike.  For festivals streets would not have to be blocked off and parking would be plentiful.  To get to a festival or function just a short walk to and on the Monon Trail would be all it would take.

I have lived in the Carmel area for approximately fifty years.  Yes, I guess I could be considered to be an old-timer.  I went to Carmel-Clay schools from kindergarten through graduation in 1976.  My wife Julie, who grew up not too far away in Nora, and I make our home here.  We love the arts and are both actively making art.  So, I have deep roots here and appreciate Carmel today as well as its history.

Sincerely, I am requesting that the Carmel Redevelopment Commission not demolish our grain elevator.  And, I am requesting that the Carmel City Council do all it can in its power to stop the destruction of our grain elevator.  It is an authentic historical asset that cannot possibly be replaced by anything new.

Thank you to Vess von Ruhtenberg for his inspiration, guidance and information.

Carmel Grain Elevator, Polaroid 02
Carmel Grain Elevator 1, Polaroid Process                       

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Trailer for Herb and Dorothy 50x50 Documentary

Satch and I are incredibly happy to be supporting Megumi Sasaki's great new documentary about what is arguably the greatest gift in history of contemporary art to the world. And it is a real kick for me to be in the trailer. I'll have to wait and see if I make the final cut!

The evening that much of the museum footage in the trailer was filmed was incredibly special.  In December of 2008 Herb and Dorothy made their first gift of the 50x50 work to the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  To a rapt audience the film, Herb and Dorothy was screened.  After a thunderous standing ovation Herb and Dorothy answered some questions and shortly thereafter the exhibit was opened.  Megumi and her cameraman briefly interviewed me about the exhibit.

IMA's 50x50 collection is something special and the night that Herb and Dorothy came to town to open the exhibit is a night that I will not forget.

Here is a link to IMA's Flckr account with some photographs from that evening.  There's even a photograph showing the 50x50 movie being made.

New Work

A couple of new photographs.  One was made at a creek that empties into Lake Michigan and the other is a portrait of Satch.
Lake Michigan and Creek Sand


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Detail of a Piece by Satch

As detailed in my essay about my "retirement" from photography I am now pursuing photography from whatever direction personally interests me.  This photograph that I am sharing is the beginning.

This is a detail of a piece that was created by Satch and is currently exhibited at Craig Smith Gallery in Union Pier Michigan.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Photographs That Changed Me #3

Paul Strand, St. Francis and Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico
This is part 3 of a series of posts about a selection of photographs that influenced my perspective of photography, or simply inspired me.

This photograph summarizes much of what is great about Paul Strand's work in New Mexico.  After viewing Strand's negatives of New Mexico Ansel Adams was moved to dedicate himself to photography as a means of artistic self-expression.

Strand's time in New Mexico was turbulent.  His relationship with Stieglitz and his wife Rebecca was disintegrating.  Strand has trusted Stieglitz.  That trust was blown apart after he found that he had been manipulated and Stieglitz was using Rebecca not only against him but even against O'Keeffe.

Strand's New Mexico work is a result of hard work and inspiration.  He had makeshift darkrooms and worked in rather crude circumstances.  While staying at Mabel Dodge's home on the edge of Taos, from the homes lookout, he would watch clouds and storms develop and then time how long it would take to get to various sites where he wanted to photograph.  The above photograph is obviously a result of that exercise.

Strand's work has always been an inspiration.  Many of our trips to New Mexico included photographing at various sites where Strand made pictures.  This was an incredible and inspirational learning experience that shaped my seeing and appreciation of the use of light in the camera to make photographs.  I also began to look past the obvious documentary type of photograph to make more expressive work.

Below is a photograph, Gateway to Truchas, New Mexico, that I made as a result of Strand's inspiration.  (Links to other posts in this series:  #1 and #2.)

Gateway to Truchas

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Instant Love" at Mad Art Gallery, Dublin, Ireland and Prism Magazine

(click the poster to enlarge)
As I've posted here in the recent past I have three photographs in an international Polaroid exhibition, "Impossible Love," curated by Karol Liver.

Mad Art Gallery in Dublin, Ireland is hosting this exhibition with support from the Impossible Project.

Because of the success of the exhibition's opening and the interest that it has created, it was immediately extended one week!  The photographs and the live video feed showed that there was a big and enthusiastic crowd at the opening.  (I have just found out that the exhibition has been extended yet again to February 2, 2012!)

Karol Liver also is the editor of the incredible online magazine of fine art photography, Prism.  He has created a Special Edition of Prism in coordination with "Impossible Love" exhibition.

This beautifully designed magazine gathers together all of the exhibited photographers' (plus three additional) thoughts and work into one place.  The resulting presentation is impressive.

The quality of the photography shines through.  The fact that photographers from many different countries are included results in a collection that is multidimensional, original and fresh.

I feel very fortunate to be included in this exhibition along with all of these incredible photographers.  Without extra effort from Karol Liver rescuing my photographs from Customs I would not have had this opportunity to have my work on the wall at Mad Art Gallery.  Big and Huge thanks to him.

Please take the time to view the Special Edition of Prism and experience the excellent work from photographers all over the world that utilize various Polaroid processes to create their art.

I strongly suggest that you view the work in full screen mode where you can easily page through the work.

Here's a direct link to the "Impossible Love" Special Edition of Prism Magazine.  (Please realize that there is nudity in some of the artist's work.)

These are the photographs that are exhibited (click on the photographs to enlarge):
Kewanna, IN

Michigan City, IN

Noblesville, IN

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


For some time now I've alluded to changes that were forthcoming.  So, today I thought I would post the bottom line. 

In the coming days I will write an essay about this decision and Julie and I are considering making a video interview about this and a few other things.

So here is the bottom line:  I am "retiring" from photography and the photography community.  This does not mean that I will no longer be making photographs; I will continue to photograph but in a much more limited and private way.

The last few weeks have been a hoot.  I've been going out with a little bit of a bang thanks to the 2 Photographers Works In Progress Exhibit at Midland Arts and Antiques Market, Mad Art Gallery in Dublin showing some of my new Polaroid work and the effort to save Carmel's grain elevator.

So that's it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Exhibition in Dublin, Ireland

Here's the press release:

Go to this link to download a pdf of the press release.

Carmel Photographer╩╝s New Work Featured in Dublin, Ireland Exhibition

Ron Kern of Carmel, Indiana is exhibiting three photographs in an international exhibition of Polaroid photography, “Instant Love,” at Mad Art Gallery in Dublin, Ireland.

The exhibition, which opens on January 14, is also complemented by a special edition of Prism Magazine, a bi-monthly on-line fine art photography magazine.

The show features over 20 artists from all over the world (Ireland, Australia, USA, Italy, Poland, UK, Czech Rep., Germany) using various instant photography methods. The show is also officially supported by The Impossible Project – the number one manufacturer of brand new instant film for Vintage Polaroid cameras. The show is curated and organized by prism Magazine editor – Karol Liver.

Currently Ron is also exhibiting 54 photographs at Midland Arts and Antiques Market in downtown Indianapolis as a part of the 2 Photographer Works In Progress project. This exhibit is a part of the Indianapolis Downtown Artists and Dealers Association Super Bowl TURF initiative and will be up through February 7, 2012. The three photographs that are in the Dublin exhibition are also at Midland Arts and Antiques Market.

Below is screen resolution copy of “Grain Elevator 1, Noblesville and Ron Kern╩╝s thoughts about his Polaroid photography.

For print resolution files and additional information please contact Ron at or at 317.507.7888.

When photographing I feel and sense the spirit of what I am seeing. The "design" of the subject or scene becomes an integral part of the final composition. I examine and present nature's and/or man's mark, the combination of which is often society's response to my subject. The resulting photograph shows the condition and existence of the subject within a context, literal or metaphorical.

For my Polaroid work I use a vintage Polaroid 420 camera. I make exposures onto Fuji instant color film. I recover a negative from the portion of the film that is typically thrown away. It is digitally scanned, converted to a monochrome image in Adobe Photoshop and printed with an archival inkjet printer.

Ron Kern January, 2012

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Imminent Demolition of the Carmel Grain Elevator

Contrail, Power Line and AbandonedGrain Elevator, Carmel, IN
(Click to enlarge photographs.)

"Thus we have the American grain elevators and factories, the magnificent FIRST-FRUITS of the new age." - Le Corbusier, Towards a New Architecture, 1927.

A photograph of Carmel's landmark historical grain elevator structure is one of the two anchor images of my project, Truth From Perceptions.  Currently it is in the 2 Photographers Works In Progress Exhibition at Midland Arts and Antiques Market in downtown Indianapolis.

I had also written about the area in a post from this blog dated August 9, 2011.  These photographs were included in that post:

This is a portion of what I wrote about this area:  It was a gorgeous winter day and it was like the sky was playing its own concerto.  The interaction of the natural clouds with the contrails was quite something.  The area where these photographs were made is one that stills reveals Carmel's history as a small town whose livelihood likely revolved around this grain elevator adjacent to the railroad tracks - maybe that is why I'm drawn here so often.

Imagine my surprise when I read on Twitter this past Saturday that it is a done deal that the City of Carmel is going to demolish the grain elevator.  Apparently, technically, it is the Carmel Redevelopment Commission (CRC) that is going to do the deed. According to City documents the CRC requested the Board of Public Works, which consists of the Mayor and two appointees, to write a resolution to demolish the structure.  Apparently that three person Board of Public Works has the power to act on the behalf of the CRC and indeed they did.

From what I've been told from a very reliable source the CRC can do whatever it wants to in this area by virtue of zoning law.  The CRC is an appointed government entity that does not answer to Carmel's City Council and therefore the citizens of Carmel.  And today I found out that they actually are able to encumber the City of Carmel with debt without getting approval from the City Council, ie the Citizens of Carmel.  That was a shocker.

Apparently the Mayor and the CRC have a plan to build an additional water tower straddling the Monon Trail that has fountains or some such thing and rather than consider integrating the grain elevator into the plan they are going to demolish it, again, with no public input.  There are instances where these structures have been reused in various ways.  Being a part of the Arts and Design District I would hope that rather than tear down one of the last historical structures connecting Carmel to its past that the CRC would come up with a more creative solution.  Maybe even ask the public and artists and architects for some ideas.  But recent history shows that Carmel's government likes shiny new things.  Problem is that, not much later, those shiny new things become dull older things that seemed like a good idea at the time.

It was extremely disappointing to see in an Indianapolis Star article Carmel Clay Historical Society's (CCHS) board member Fred Swift easily dismiss this structure as having no historical significance.  Yet in the next breath he makes the case for the structure when he acknowledges that the structure has been a part of Carmel's landscape for ninety years and was one of Carmel's largest employers before Carmel was a "big suburb." Update 2-25-2012 - From an IBJ article it is now known that the CCHS received a $31,000 grant from the 4CDC which is an organization that works as a shadow government entity that disperses Carmel public money with no public input nor oversight.  So it is no surprise that the CCHS has no interest in preserving the grain elevator.

Apparently now that Carmel is a suburb we no longer have any use for our agricultural past.  I expect more than this from an organization that is supposed to be protecting our history outside of local politics.

I find it ironic that the CCHS is housed in, what I'm certain Mr. Swift considers historically significant structures, railroad depot buildings that were repurposed to suit CCHS' needs and are in the shadow of the grain elevator.

Even more ironic is this news story from Current in Carmel; the first two paragraphs are here:

The City Council Monday night approved an ordinance authorizing historic preservation and the creation of a historic preservation commission. 

The ordinance, which passed with a 6-1 vote, was proposed to “provide a means to promote the cultural, economic, and general welfare of the public through the preservation and protection of structures and areas of historic and cultural interest within the City” and to “maintain established neighborhoods in danger of having their distinctiveness destroyed,” among other stated purposes.

Zack Myers of Fox 59 news interviewed me for their story on the demolition of the grain elevator.

I encourage you to read an article about all of this written by Jonathon Haag that can be found on his blog, Innovate Carmel.

Here is a recent letter to the editor of the Indianapolis Star by Jane Oakes:

Maybe we can progress without
tearing down grain elevator

6:41 PM, Jan. 05, 2012

I hadn’t thought about the Carmel Grain Elevator in years, but all of a sudden the story on Wednesday, Jan. 4 (“Eyesore or landmark, elevator’s coming down”) brought back a virtual flood of memories. When I moved to Carmel as a child, there were 771 people living there, as attested by a sign at the south edge of town.

At the Carmel school, all in one brick building at the east end of Main Street, I was in the same class with both Fosters and Kendalls, the families that owned the grain elevator. The Monon Railroad was a large part of the community from the proximity to the grain company to the hook by the large door that snagged mailbags each day. Putting a penny on the tracks was an exciting pastime; I’ll bet if I looked carefully enough I might still have a very thin, flat, smashed penny. Progress does not always mean removing the past. Sometimes it means honoring it through visible memories.

Jane S. Oaks


A fellow grad from Carmel High 1976 had this to say about the grain elevator:

The Carmel Grain Elevator should be preserved as a historical landmark... Even as the town moves forward, and the landscape through the years has changed, it should always leave reminders of what once was.

Mike Sapp

Also there is a discussion on Carmel City Councilor's Rick Sharp's Facebook page.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Carmel Grain Elevator

Carmel Grain Elevator, 2009 (Made with a Holga)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2 Photographers Works In Progress Exhibit Is Open

Artists' Reception this coming First Friday, January 6, 2011 at Midland Arts and Antiques Market.  For more information go to the 2 Photographers Works In Progress Website.

Photograph by Satch

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Moving Forward

Ron with his Polaroid, Photograph by Satch, 11/23/2011
As I begin to move forward with a new direction for my photography, I have been attempting to clarify my thinking about my work.

When I am photographing I feel and sense the spirit of what I am seeing.  The "design" of the subject or scene (natural or manmade, intentional or incidental) becomes an integral of the final composition.  I examine and present nature's and/or man's mark, the combination of which is often society's response to my subject.  The resulting photograph shows the condition and existence of the subject within a context, literal or metaphorical.  That being said, trying to recreate my feelings and perception through a lens and onto film via this machine, the Polaroid camera, is incredibly difficult and at times more than frustrating.

I photograph within the environment that I know or find myself in - the world in which I live.  I do not find it necessary to travel to a specific locale to make photographs that present something exotic, unfamiliar or detached from my day to day existence.  Rather I endeavor to delve into my surroundings within the scope of where I live my life.

Noblesville Grain Elevator 1

Sunday, November 27, 2011

More New Work, Videos and Thoughts

There is plenty of new work to see on the 2 Photographers Works in Progress blog.  And we have our own domain -  Please check out the new posts.  Thanks!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Kyle Ragsdale's Costumerie and First Friday

Sunset, Mass Ave
(Please note:  Click on the photographs to enlarge.)

This past First Friday Satch and I headed out early to The Harrison Center for the Arts! to view Kyle Ragsdale's new work before the crowds showed up.  We had an excellent evening up and down Mass Ave taking in several exhibits.

We really enjoyed Kyle's new paintings.  Revisiting themes from twenty years ago this new work is a departure from his recent work.

The exhibit is consistently strong.  The palette used for each painting seems perfect.  I'm hardly an art critic, but I know when art moves me and many of these new paintings did indeed do that.

The scale of the paintings varied.  The large works were impressive.  I will point out two paintings that I really like.

The first is a young girl from Kyle's Fountain Square neighborhood.  She is in a red cape that reminds me of Little Red Riding Hood, or is she a Superhero?  Her pose is exquisite and Kyle catches her in a beautiful light.

The second painting is a large piece that features a Koshare, or a Pueblo Clown in the upper right corner.  I wonder if this is a nod to Kyle's past in New Mexico.  In the painting, the Koshare is the only figure that is looking directly at the viewer.  I suppose the armor-clad Knight could also be looking directly at the viewer, but we will never know

Photographs of these pieces, along with other views of the exhibition are directly below this writing.  If you missed opening on First Friday, I heartily recommend that you make the effort to get to The Harrison Center of the Arts! to take in Costumerie - New Work by Kyle Ragsdale.

Kyle Ragsdale

Also at The Harrison Center for the Arts! is Continuous, A Gallery Show - Illustrations by Herron School of Art + Design students.  I especially liked "Continuity" by LorieLee Andrews.
Satch at "Continuous"
"Continuity," LorieLee Andrews

At the Anthenaeum, the A Cause for Elegance fundraiser for twenty local non-profit causes drew an impressive crowd.  The art was refreshing and exciting.  The detail found in the art showed that the artists are very dedicated to their vision.  Dan Grossman wrote a feature article about Outside The Box and the incredible work that this organization does on a daily basis and about what A Cause for Elegance is all about.  I invite you to visit this link and read Dan's article.
A Cause for Elegance (Dan and Satch in discussion)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Formations 2011, Kewanna, Indiana

Diane Tesler's Studio/Gallery
On this past gorgeous Saturday (October 22, 2011) Satch and I made it to Kewanna to catch "Formations 2011," the annual exhibition that artist Diane Tesler presents in her studio/gallery.

Diane on the Right
We had a nice visit with Diane and Wade Bussert and enjoyed seeing all of the art work.

Wade Bussert with his Paintings and Satch

We also photographed and made a short video at that late artist James Spencer Russell's house.

Musicians Surrounded by Art
Promo Display for the 2014 Russell Exhibit
at the Indiana State Museum
The Late James Russell's House

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Genesis of the Exhibition

Style, Elegance and Wit:
The Artwork of James Spencer Russell

January 26, 2014 - July 14, 2014
Indiana State Museum

James Spencer Russell
This is a post about how the Indiana State Museum’s James Russell retrospective came to fruition.

The artist James Spencer Russell of Kewanna, Indiana passed away in November of 2000 leaving over 2,500 pieces of his art in his home.  The work was incredibly varied and was made over the course of his life.

After inventorying the work the estate called upon Dennis Jackson to hold a series of auctions to sell the work.  At the auctions everyone that I spoke with about Russell’s work agreed that it was very, very good.  The art was sold to several collectors and to some dealers.  Among those collectors were Steve Conant and Tom Kuebler, both of Indianapolis.

Some time after the auctions had concluded I received word that the idea of holding a retrospective exhibition was in the works.  Satch and I were really happy to hear of this.  We were excited that arguably one of Indiana’s greatest contemporary artists, James Spencer Russell, who was virtually unknown in his home state, would get recognized and the public would have a chance to experience his art.

Over the past three years, out of his personal collection, Steve Conant has made donations  to the Indiana State Museum of many works by Russell including drawings, small sculptures, paintings and assemblages.  Steve hoped that by having this work in the museum’s collection the Board of Directors would see the quality of the work and would eventually be more likely to consider the exhibition as a worthwhile undertaking.

Thanks to Steve Conant’s slow but steady urging of Rachel Perry, Fine Arts Curator for the Indiana State Museum, to approach the museum’s committees charged with exploring the feasibility of the exhibition, the idea for “Style Elegance and Wit” came to fruition.

Steve then discussed this with Tom Kuebler and subsequently Tom made a trip to Kewanna to meet Wade Bussert, Russell’s close friend, and to see Wade’s collection of Russell’s work and biographical archive.  The connection to Wade Bussert was accomplished previous to this during a visit that Tom and Steve had made to the Midwest Museum of American Art in Elkhart, Indiana.  Brian Byrn, the museum’s curator was aware of the Russell estate and suggested Tom connect with Wade.

Sometime later Steve and Tom visited Kewanna to view Wade’s material which Steve later outlined to Rachel Perry and Chris Krok, one of the people involved the the Indiana State Museum Foundation. This resulted in a third trip to Kewanna by Rachel, Steve and Tom.

Tom Kuebler archived and went through the materials regarding Russell’s estate that he received from its executor and Wade Bussert including many photographs, slides and additional material.  At this point Tom wrote a monograph, which was presented to the Indiana State Museum that contained a brief history of James Russell and photographs of a selection of his art.

The “exhibit process” at the Indiana State Museum involves presentations to two different committees of peers - an “Exhibit Focus Committee” and the “Leadership Team.”  The committees evaluate the feasibility of the exhibition proposal by examining such things as audience, funding, available space, cost of insurance, etc.

Thanks to Rachel Perry’s continued efforts at the Indiana State Museum and the accomplishments of Steve Conant and Tom Kuebler the exhibition has become a reality.

There is a ton of work to be done.  Additional historical materials have been gathered and are being processed.  The next step is to, through historical documentation, reconstitute the incredible life of Indiana artist, James Russell.

By James Spencer Russell
Thanks to Steve Conant for providing a big portion of the information contained in this post.

And, thanks to Rachel Perry for additional details.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Photographs That Changed Me" - #2

Redding Woods, Connecticut, 1968, Paul Caponigro
This is part 2 of a series of posts about a selection of photographs that influenced my perspective of photography, or simply inspired me.

Over the years in several locales I've had the opportunity to see and examine many of Paul Caponigro's prints. Over the years I've studied his work via books and because of his book, Seasons: Photographs and Essays, I was inspired to do work with Polaroid materials .

Sometime in the mid 1980's at Photography West Gallery in Carmel, California, I first viewed Paul Caponigro's photograph, Redding Woods, Connecticut, 1968. From across the room it drew me in to explore the depths and spirit of the composition all enveloped in a quality of light that was exhilarating.

This photograph opened my mind to more closely seeing and appreciating nature's abstractions within my environment.

The spiritual essence contained in Paul Caponigro's work always enlivens me and artistically reassures me.

Links to other posts in this series:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

First Phase Complete - Truth From Perceptions and Changes Coming

As of this evening I have completed the first phase of Truth From Perceptions. There are about 135 photographs from which to cull the exhibit. I have made over 500 negatives during the last nine months. Now the editing begins. In some cases I will be presenting differing perspectives and "contact prints" that will show the process by which I came to the final image.

The work continues as I am exploring the use of Polaroid cameras to make photographs. Some of this work will be shown as well. I will continue to blog about the making of photographs up until, during and even after the exhibit.

This project has caused my thinking about my photography to be more focused and I foresee big changes coming. Final decisions and discussion about these changes will come after the exhibit.